Charles Turzak - woodcuts, paintings, limited edition prints and watercolors.
Charles Turzak Biography
The 1950's page 5

Charles Turzak
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  Charles Turzak - Printmaker, Painter, Illustrator, Watercolorist, Cartoonist, Designer,
Author, Lecturer, Teacher.

The '50's brought availability and a serge of economic acceleration. New products and new ways of living were all screaming "CHANGE!" Pre-fabricated houses, aluminum foil, nylon, plastic, and television began the long list of things to come. For Charley Turzak the advertising business was booming, but it was changing as well. The beautifully illustrated color renderings done for clients in previous years were phasing out. Photography was the coming trend and his photographic skills were well used. The rapidly increasing workload required freelancers and staffers to be hired. Even his daughter's pen and ink drawings, airbrushing, and photo assistance helped out. The long train rides, between his in-town studios and suburban home studio, became his only chance to read editorial copy, in preparation for layouts to be designed at each destination's end. Sketching at a street corner or in Grant Park was but a memory.

CT Home Studio
Lane Furniture Illustration
Vitrolite Illustration

The no-days-off weekends and mini-vacations allowed little time for fine art. The paintings of Shrimp Boats done in Mississippi, Yellow Boat done in Canada and Galena, Illinois comprised his on location '50's landscapes. For several years changes in his style of painting and technique had been taking place. He was rapidly moving from Modernism to Abstraction. Experimenting with optical fragmentation of geometric forms, he created the illusion of transformation through color values. The combining of scribing and pattern repetition in his Cubist painting The Farmer produced an extraordinary agricultural texture. Glass shards used in Impact was an imaginative ploy of media construction. Finite and Infinite, #15, Boat and Yellow Tree, Condos on the Lake clearly showed his changing perspective into the adventures of Abstract Expressionism. Even the familiar smell of turpentine used with oil paint was slowly dissipating as odorless acrylics were coming into use.

Yellow Boat
Condos on the Lake

Changes and new trends were also apparent among the dealers and collectors of Fine Prints. The national consciousness toward the "poignant pictorial" of the '30's and "on the job laborers" was becoming associated with a subversive role. The popularity of these works instantly ceased. The remainder of his '30's editions was stowed away in portfolios. The woodcut expressing bold and powerful emotion was dying along with the images it left behind. Although he did get out the old press and print two new woodcuts during the early fifties; both were for Holiday Greetings-God First cut on maple in two colors and Three Wise Men cut on bass in five colors.

God First
3 Wize Men

The suburban residence in northwest Chicago was sold by the mid '50's; resulting in a vast amount of his artwork being disposed of in preparation for a move to an apartment on Chicago's near north side. The many years of shoveling snow and the long daily train rides were over. Their daughter had married... he and Florence were home alone, a couple again. His thoughts of retirement were becoming very frequent. He began to release himself from his many advertising responsibilities. During August of 1958 they slipped away from Chicago to relocate in Florida. He would do what he had dreamed of all his life, he would quietly spend the rest of his days just painting in the balmy tropics…or so he thought.

Over the next twenty-eight years Charlie's "dream" would under-go continuous revisions and re-interpretation. Orlando was a verdantly beautiful, sleepy little town…as he depicted in his woodcuts Lake Eola, Pink Hibiscus, White Hibiscus, and his tropical painting, Palms and Flamingos. In a letter to his old friend, Alfonso Iannelli, he remarked that living in Florida was like a taste of eternity, without seasonal changes time seemed non-existent. The move to Central Florida was not a casual choice. Several of his artist friends, Albin Polasek, in Winter Park, Andre Smith, in Maitland, Tybor Padeky and Frank French in Orlando, had been area residents for many years.

Lake Eola
Pink Hibiscus
White Hibiscus
Palms and Flamingos

After settling-in he joined the Orlando Art Association. It was a small group of artists, mostly painters with varying levels of creative application. Exhibition opportunities were very few; thus the general public's exposure to local artists was equally limited. He began arranging one-man shows of his historical and colonial prints in bank lobbies. On occasion he would move in his press and give printing demonstrations, explaining to on-lookers how woodcuts were made, and something about their history; while frequently injecting a humorous story or some little known fact of interest. His prints provided the banks with themes of Franklin's thriftiness, Jefferson's creation of the almighty dollar, celebrations for Lincoln's and Washington's birthday and the Fourth of July. Restaurants too welcomed him displaying his woodcuts and paintings and those of other Association members. Newspaper publicity and announcements were an added boon for all. An interior decorator, renovating a restaurant in colonial decor, obtained the use of several prints from his calendar series. Making sizeable enlargements the images were displayed in the foyer and throughout the dining rooms.


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